Monday, November 10, 2008
STOP H8! Campaign
First, the uncounted vote update:
The CA Sec. of State ”semi-official” popular vote now shows that Prop 8 has passed by 494,847 votes (an increase of about 60,000 votes since Nov. 5th). This is due to a few districts that have already reported the outcome of their mail-in and provisional ballots.
However, as of Friday, the tally for unprocessed ballots reported to CA’s Sec. of State is said to be a total of 2,738,695. This is a self-reporting system, so I imagine that there could easily be a pretty large margin of error, but this is the official account of uncounted ballots as of now.
I’m thinking it’s a good idea for all Californians that can, to put in a little volunteer time in our home county, monitoring the process of qualifying these ballots. There have been some really weird reports of problems with ballots that would be worth overseeing for accuracy’s sake too! Numerous reports of broken machines, ballots not being run through, etc... The SoS requires that all of these ballots be counted 28 days after Election Day, and that puts it on Dec. 9th (I believe they said the results would be announced closer to the 15th). There are just a little less than 616 thousand votes still yet to be counted in Los Angeles alone!
Things to sign/sign-up for:
Take this pledge to repeal Prop 8! It is a movement being hosted by the “Courage Campaign” – a progressive grassroots organizing network The pledge simply reads:
“We, the undersigned, are united in our refusal to accept a California where discrimination is enshrined in our state's constitution.
We pledge to repeal Prop 8 and restore marriage equality to California.”
One of the petitions I had posted before (that was to go to the governor) was shut down for some unknown reason, and is no longer taking signatures.
However, the other petition by Equality California to put equality on the ballot (if we don’t win in court) is still going.
About the lawsuits that have been filed:
ACLU filed a lawsuit the day after the election. Their case is based on Prop 8 being invalid as a constitutional revision - not amendment –and therefore cannot be enacted by initiative (unless approved by the Legislature first), according to the CA Constitution. Of course, they are also citing the Equal Protection Clause; which was the basis by which the CA Supreme Court ruling last May, and made same sex marriage legal.
There are two more lawsuits filed essentially citing the same argument, and two of the three have asked the court to prevent the prop from taking effect while the cases are pending. One is being taken up on behalf of a married couple. If I remember correctly, they were the very first gay couple to be married in CA, and were the ones that filed the original case that ruled last May.
Three couples that were denied the right to marry:
Invalidate Prop 8 is a legal funds drive to fight the illegality of it. What I really liked is that your minimal donation of $5 is actually made in the Mormon Church’s president’s name, and sends him a post card ending with these words:
“Given that throughout its history the Mormon Church has been subjected to bigotry, we hope you appreciate the donation in your name to fight religious bigotry here in California.”
Protests of All Kinds:
GET BUSY GET EQUAL is the ACLU’s action resource center for equality activists. Click on “organize” and get info on how to become effectively involved in any of the various ways to oppose Prop 8!
Obviously there have been numerous street protests in different cities all over the state. Overturn Prop 8 has a rally calendar, and if you know of a rally that you don’t see listed then send it to the email address at the top of the page. I see there are at least another ten scheduled over the next two weeks.
The Californians Against Hate website is dedicated to exposing the individuals and organizations that have financially supported Prop 8. Not solely to pay them the dishonor they deserve, but also in the interest of calling a boycott. Keep in mind that the Prop 8 proponents actually attempted to blackmail the businesses that opposed them, threatening to blacklist them if they didn’t equally contribute to support the prop!
One of the things that has really gotten under my skin is the Dishonor Roll member, Elsa Prince (mother of Blackwater owner); one of the largest individual donors, along with her daughter-in-law, who is married to the “Amway guy.” Erik Prince (Blackwater) is known to be an evangelical Christian, who has so much as said Iraq & Afghanistan was his opportunity to fight a “Holy War” against infidels. If that weren’t already bad enough; now I feel as if their wealth accumulated by way of our tax dollars, via private contracting has been used to strip civil rights from Californians!
And speaking of taxes...for those that didn’t know, there has been an ongoing “Gay Tax Protest” for many years now, starting with the “Defense of Marriage Act” (DOMA) of 1996 (which BTW, Obama has promised to repeal – and we must hold him to that!). Charles Merrill (cousin of the founder of Merrill & Lynch) is one of the latest to protest DOMA this way. The passage of Prop 8 seems to have reignited this type of protest too. I think it’s an excellent idea for the gay population of California to contact the State Tax authorities as well as the IRS to notify them that you will no longer be paying your taxes! As many of the protesters have pointed out, it’s not fair to be paying taxes as a “whole person” when you only receive partial rights as a human being.
Just a couple days ago, Melissa Etheridge announced she was going to stop paying taxes, and instead donate those tax dollars to every legal action that contests Prop 8 as being unconstitutional. Go Melissa!!!
These tax protesters really have it right too! For example, state tax laws require that they not discriminate “based on ace, gender, religion, alienage, or nationality.” I say that this MUST be a two-way street!!! After all, “no taxation without representation” – RIGHT?
Seriously, the gay community contributes an enormous amount of money to the system in CA overall. Hello, Hollywood? San Francisco? Melissa also made mention of the revenues coming into CA by way of travelers from across the nation looking to be married here, and it is an incredibly foolish loss – especially when you consider Arnold is begging the Fed to bail us out of our enormous state debt! I was just speaking to my former roommate in San Francisco, and she said that the gay marriage services (wedding, hotels, parties, etc...) are completely OFF THE HOOK there. I can tell you from my own experience living there as a waitress, the gay community pretty much paid all my bills – while my straight customers were just very thin gravy. So I say, vote with your very powerful dollar, by refusing to pay taxes – it WILL hurt. Let me just say, as a straight person that is likely to be hurt by this strategy, I’m perfectly willing to take that economic punch on your behalf too! I think it’s become clear that many other people feel the same way too, so go for it.
The Mormon Debacle:
Mormons Stole Our Rights is a website that has all kinds of information about the fact that the Mormon Church (or LDS Church) was largely financially responsible for the massive campaign that Yes on 8 launched. Towards the end of their page you will find their petition to revoke the tax-free status for ALL charitable organizations that have or will lobby for state propositions (to be shared with all legal efforts pursuing this issue).
There is another movement to Revoke the LDS Church’s tax-free status based on the violation of financially supporting Prop 8! On this website the tax code that has been violated is there for you to read, as well as instructions on how to address the IRS with your complaint about their violation and request their tax-free status be revoked. There is also a page dedicated to the public reporting of other charitable organizations that have also violated this tax code.
The “Mormons Stole Our Rights” website says this is somewhat of an unclear case because it mentions that “legislation” cannot be financially influenced, and not specifically “propositions” - but because we live in a state where the population can vote on propositions to make them law, or amend the state constitution, then it is clearly the same thing. A linguistic loophole that could very well be closed with the legal actions being taken up based on this law. I actually see this as one of many plusses for Prop 8 passing. I know that sounds weird, but ideally, I’d like to see some of these cases make it all the way to the US Supreme Court. Then perhaps we could have federal law passed, preventing this type of law or amendment from being passed anywhere in the nation!
As noted on the “Revoke LDS Church 501 Status” website, you’ll see this message that is in recognition of the law suits already filed challenging Prop 8’s legitimacy too:
“Whether the proposition was a lawful amendment or a revision that cannot legally be made by a voter initiative remains an open question.”
This petition is for members of the church, asking them to publicly retract their support of Prop 8, based on a part of their own faith:
“We do not believe it just to mingle religious influence with civil government , whereby one religious society is fostered and another proscribed in its spiritual privileges, and the individual rights of its members, as citizens, denied.”
(Doctrine and Covenants 134:9)
You can put add your name to the petition, resign from the church, or write a letter via email here: firstname.lastname@example.org
And they have posted some letters of resignation from members of the church (I’m sure with the author’s consent), so you can read them too. Signing for Something.org
Lastly, an inspirational and touching announcement from a former “civil union” advocate...
I can’t believe I hadn’t come across this video before, but it’s incredibly moving! Sorry in advance for the quality of the sound; I couldn’t find a better copy, but I can guarantee you it’s well worth a listen. Well over a year ago, the mayor of San Diego, who had campaigned on vetoing same sex marriage, calls a press conference to explain to his constituency why he felt he had to change his stance:
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